40 per cent Indian students used ‘fraud’ to get UK visas
In one blatant case of attempting to cheat, a group of 200 students applying for accountancy programmes in the UK submitted documents that suggested they met requirements. But when the applicants were called for interviews, only six or seven of them could speak even basic English, an official recalled. Charu Sudan Kasturi reports.delhi Updated: Apr 01, 2011 02:07 IST
Four out of every ten Indian applicants for UK student visas used fraudulent ways to try and enter Britain.
The massive levels of deception in student applications could represent attempts to beat the tough new rules, which include greater scrutiny and need applicants to meet conditions more stringent than the ones they currently need to meet, the British immigration officials suggested.
The UK plans to introduce a set of new and more stringent visa rules in April this year.
As many as 40 % of Indian student visa applications received by the UK in the first three months of the year carried varying elements of fraud and deception, a senior British immigration official here told HT.
In one blatant case of attempting to cheat, a group of 200 students applying for accountancy programmes in the UK submitted documents that suggested they met requirements.
But when the applicants were called for interviews, only six or seven of them could speak even basic English, an official recalled.
Under current visa rules, the applicants are required to have secured scores equivalent to a B1 level - 4.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or a score of 57 in the Test of English as a Foreign Language.
This is, however, not the first time that British authorities have trained special scrutiny on the student visa applications from India amid fears of an immigration scam.
The UK temporarily suspended visa applications from north India, Bangladesh and Nepal in January 2010 after an unusual surge in application numbers.
The new rules, which Britain is enforcing in a phased manner from April 6 - and which the spate in fraud may be aiming to avoid - include stricter scrutiny on funding availability of applicants.
Applicants also need to secure significantly higher scores in the IELTS (5.5) and TOEFL (87) to be eligible under the new rules.
These new rules are aimed at stopping illegal immigration in the garb of education.